I received a letter in the mail today from my dad, as I occasionally do. His letters are straight out of a bygone era, and no matter how short, no matter what the subject, they are always heartfelt. I don’t recall one which hasn’t brought me to tears.

My dad is a curmudgeon in many ways. He scoffs at social media, laments our consumer culture, despises our political juggernaut, and generally resists change wherever it crops up in his life. He holds on to what is old. He holds on to memories of people; his parents, uncles, and brother Terry. Yes, he is a sentimental guy. I often drive away from their house after a weekend visit and catch a glimpse of tears in his eyes. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I have dealt with sadness, loneliness, and an overwhelming sense of professional failure as an adult. I’ve used social media to temper that suffering, feeding off of “likes” and flattering comments. But when I receive a letter from a man who would give anything for me…when I realize that I have the most precious thing the world has to offer – a loving family – I’m humbled. I’m reminded that our relationships with others are the real currency in life.

Nick Coughlin

Nick Coughlin is the founder and publisher of Compassionate Man. He lives in South Minneapolis with his two dogs, Onyx and Boli. You can reach him by emailing nick@compassionateman.com

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